photo by Dana Glazer
Council Candidate Jeff Voigt
Ridgewood Nj, Based on the 2016 H zone Master Plan amendment being passed by the planning board – where does this leave Valley in the view of the Village residents? Many view Valley as a very bad neighbor – it pays no property taxes, doesn’t tell us its long term intentions, and filed a lawsuit against the planning boardand town council in order to achieve its expansion aims. Valley certainly has a public relations problem which it needs to address. So what can Valley do to improve its image and commitment to the Village of Ridgewood?
Here are some suggestions:
In a recent conversation I had with Jim Griffith, Village resident, Jim suggested that Valley should start investing more $$$ in the Village. This could be done potentially with the new NJ requirement for Valley to pay property taxes (even though they are a non-profit). However,rather than just giving the Village the tax dollars, Valley should make known to all residents its financial commitment to issues important to the Village such as Parks and Recreation. While Ipartially agree with Jim, I would also content that Valley is a very profitable non-profit hospital (see their December 31, 2014 financials on line; Baker Tilly, auditor’s report). Therefore as a“good neighbor” Valley should pay their fair share of property taxes. This would have amounted to $4.5 million based on their 15.5 acre campus (based on the Village tax assessor estimates). Recent suits in NJ have opened the door for non-profits to pay their fair share of taxes; as perabove. It would also be nice however, if Valley would become more involved in the Village’s interests, above and beyond paying its fair share of taxes.
Valley might consider having a Village resident on its board of Trustees (ideally a voting member), who in turn could report back to the Village on Valley. There are several committed Village residents who would do a really good job at this. This person(s) would serve the interests of the Village and help in building a partnership with Valley.
Valley should have a Village resident intimately involved in the planning and implementation of the hospital expansion/construction. Again there are several people in our Village, living near Valley, who would be great candidates for this.
Valley could develop a series of educational programs such as “good health programs” for the schools and teach them. These might include nutrition, healthy living/lifestyles, exercise programs, etc.
The key for Valley in all of this is to become a better neighbor and; to demonstrate its commitment to the Village by working with its residents.